Gwinnett, GA – For the third straight game, the Florida Everblades stared down a deficit after two periods and for the third straight game they could not overcome it, falling 5-4 to the Gwinnett Gladiators Thursday at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Down 4-3 through 40 minutes, the Blades rallied to tie the game 4:25 into the third when Brandon MacLean rang home a Jordan Henry rebound for his seventh goal of the year.
Both defenses clamped down in the third, blocking shot after shot as the two sides combined for just 18 shots in the final frame but Gwinnett broke through with 4:09 left as Gladiators forward Brenden Walker powered a Sacha Guimond rebound through Florida goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, boosting the home side to a 5-4 edge.
Gwinnett’s defense made that lead stand up, clogging the middle of its own zone to stymie a frantic charge by the Blades in the final two minutes and deal Florida its third straight loss at 5-4.
Matthew Pistilli got the Blades on the board first Thursday, grabbing a pass in transition from Mike Merrifield and ripping it through the legs of Gladiators keeper Peter Delmas for a 1-0 lead 2:21 into the game.
But Gwinnett would respond with back-to-back goals by Josh Currie and Dirk Southern to close the opening frame with a 2-1 advantage.
Kyle Bonis picked up his sixth goal of the year 3:35 into the second, whipping home a MacLean rebound to even the score at two.
The Gladiators answered back with another two-goal rally on strikes from the recently acquired Mike Embach and Marshall Everson to pull back ahead 4-2.
Bonis dialed up another response for the Blades with 32 seconds left, blasting in a back-door pass from MacLean on the rush to chop the lead to one.
Defenseman Mike Cornell nearly evened the score at the end of the second, sending a shot off a defender and in, but the would-be goal came just a second after the horn, leaving the score 4-3 heading into the third.
Gudlevskis suffered his first professional loss on 22 stops; Delmas made 29 saves to improve to 2-2-0-0 on the year.
The two sides will reconvene Friday at The Arena at Gwinnett Center for a 7:05pm rematch as the Blades look to try and snap their three-game skid.
Friday’s contest will be broadcast locally on FOX Sports Radio 1350 AM and worldwide online on America ONE, the official broadband and mobile broadcaster of the ECHL, at www.americaonesports.com. Pregame coverage will get under way at 6:50pm.
2013-14 Season Ticket Package Information
Ticket packages for the 2013-14 season are currently on sale—and going fast! Full season packages begin at $380, while 10 and 20 game packages start as low as $160. Sign-up for a new season ticket package today, and receive a $20 gift card per seat to Outback Steakhouse!
For more information call 239-948-7825, or stop by the Everblades main office located at Germain Arena.
Office hours are Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.###